Expounding the Dharma
- By Living Buddha Lian-Sheng, Sheng-Yen Lu
- Translated by Cheng Yew Chung
- Edited by TBN
Will my being in retreat
at Leaf Lake forever keep me from ascending the dharma throne to
expound the dharma?
Speaking of expounding the dharma, I remember that I spent days
and nights prior to my retreat studying the secrets of Tantric teachings
and engaging myself in the actual practice of Tantric dharma. While
in Seattle, I ascended the dharma throne daily to preach the dharma.
I also expounded the teachings around the world and was diligent
in my efforts to teach the sutras and dharma.
While it is important to expound the dharma, it is equally important
that we listen to the dharma.
Shakyamuni Buddha expounded the dharma for forty-nine years and
helped many of his disciples attain the fruition of realization
(the path of liberation and the path of enlightenment).
But let me say this to you:
A Buddhist scholar who is exceptional in his detailed study of Buddhism
can certainly preach the dharma for he is well versed in the Buddhist
teachings. However, if the scholar does not engage himself in actual
practice and involves himself only in the theoretical teaching of
dharma, he is only an ordinary mundane being who engages himself
in empty talks and frivolous discourses.
Take, for example, an ordained monk who often teaches others to
recite the Buddha name and speaks of the certainty that a single-minded
recitation of the Buddha name will ensure a rebirth in the Pure
Land, but he, as a monk, does not recite the Buddha name himself.
The question is, will this monk gain rebirth in the Pure Land?
The individuals who listen to the monk's talk on dharma every day
may be filled with the joy of dharma. However, when they return
home, they are drawn to their worldly matters and do not put what
they learn into actual practice. I am aware that these individuals
You may ask, "Have you done actual practice?"
And I may answer you, "I'll do it tomorrow."
Let me say this to you honestly: By claiming that you will practise
tomorrow makes one wonder what exactly is tomorrow? Tomorrow is
just one tomorrow followed by another tomorrow. Yet actual practice
is all about "now," which cannot be delayed. Disciples who only
listen to dharma talks are not considered to be actually practising
A dakini once brought the soul of a disciple to my place-
I asked the deceased soul, "Have you actually practised the dharma?"
He replied, "I believe in the Buddhadharma, and Grand Master's Tantric
Dharma is indeed the dharma lamp of great radiance. However, I only
listened to the dharma being expounded and did not put it into actual
"Have you recited any Buddha name or mantra?"
When I heard his reply, my heart ached.
"You respect the Guru, treasure the dharma, and yet you have not
actually practised it. You have simply wasted your life. Remember
to commit yourself to actual practice in your next life!"
I feel that while it is important to ascend the throne to expound
the dharma, it is more important to practise the dharma as instructed!